Design Preview Report – Vintage Photography Equipment Cabinet

For my final design project I have decided to go with a photography cabinet that will hold all of my photography equipment. I have chosen this as it will not only offer me a challenge as I have not done woodwork in many years, but will offer me something I will be able to use in my day to day life. For my aesthetic I will be going with a vintage design. Photography holds many different aesthetics within it, with vintage photography being one of the more prominent ones I have encountered. It has always struck me as a fantastic and visually pleasing aesthetic. I also hope while doing this I will be able to match the aesthetic of my record player, as this also gives some of that vintage vibe to it. In order to achieve this I will be choosing materials and finishes such as wood, glass and metal handles/feet. These choices not only will align with my aesthetic but will also offer durability and a timeless appeal.

First I had to research some different designs for my project for inspiration. What I generally find for a “photography cabinet” are dry cabinets, which dehumidifies the equipment inside and they generally have a temperature control feature to go along with this. At first I thought this might be a good route but there are a couple of problems with this. Since Colorado is a fairly dry climate the dehumidifier would do next to nothing for my equipment. After some research I found that it’s not even necessary in most climates unless you live somewhere like a rainforest. I also don’t know enough about how to do this, which could result in my project going under before I even started making it. I ran through the same thing with a temperature control feature for my project, something that is not entirely needed. I did consider putting a temperature sensor into my project but I also went away from this idea as it would just incorporate unwanted electronics in my project if I wasn’t doing anything else, requiring either batteries or a plug into the wall. I have a specific place in my apartment that I would like to put this storage cabinet which is not near an outlet and I would like to set and forget my equipment when I am not using it, making batteries a bad choice for my project as I am not sure how long they would last and would more than likely need to replace them often if I don’t optimize the system. I did like the sizes of the different cabinets I found and one idea I was inspired on was the adjustable shelves you generally find in cabinets like these.

For my design I had to start by taking a few basic measurements. What would the point be of making a storage if it wouldn’t fit what you want in it? I found the height to put it on my shelf would need to be under thirteen inches, to fit both my camera’s width the storage would need to be twelve inches, and to fit my largest lens the storage would need to be ten inches deep. This is also fairly standard for the cabinets that I found online, except my project will be slightly shorter. I hope to be able to fit three different cameras, four to five lenses, and the rest of my equipment such as filters and SD cards. 

I decided to make a basic CAD of all of this to see how well it could actually work and to see how much materials I would need to buy. I have not decided on what kind of wood I would like to use but I will be making the majority of the storage out of wood. Whatever wood I do decide to choose will be catered towards the vintage aesthetic I am going for. To make my storage sturdy and strong I will be researching different types of wood joints I can use to fit my box together. So far I have been thinking of doing rabbet joints, download butt joints, or dovetail joints, all of which reflect my skill in woodworking and are still aesthetically pleasing. The exterior of the storage will be almost all wood except for a glass door I would like to make for this project. From a previous project I know that glass generally comes in at 3/32 inches thick so I will be using this for the door. The door will be framed with wood, have a handle that fits my aesthetic, and padding on the back so I am not scratching the wood. I am trying to decide between two different closing mechanisms to keep my door shut. I could either use magnets 

In order to get this done in time, I plan on sourcing all of my materials before the beginning of spring break. By following this timeline I can give myself some “extra” time to find materials over the break if I don’t get them before but also hold me to a strict date that will help cascade into the rest of my project. After spring break, I will be manufacturing my project, which I am giving myself a two week window to do. I don’t want to go too late into the semester with manufacturing but if I mess anything up I will be able to recover. Assembly then should only take half a week, then the rest of the semester can be to make sure that I have built it to my liking and fix any issues that may arise.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Jace Aschbrenner
    March 18, 2024 7:58 am

    Hi Cannon! This looks like a nice and useful project! I appreciate how you explained your use cases for the case, and how those led you to different design choices. I noticed that you initially said you are using metal in the design, is that still the plan after building on the CAD model? Also, what kind of stain and/or finish will you use on the wood? I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

  • Vincent Tang
    March 14, 2024 4:46 pm

    I never knew that cabinets like these exist to dehumidify photography, so I appreciate the information. Also, I think you’ve forgotten to mention the other closing mechanism in your post, as only the magnet is mentioned. Do you plan to incorporate the mechanism within the wood or externally?


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